Two years ago, I spent the whole autumn in Graz, Austria, on one of my artist-in-residence stays. Again, I found myself in a new city, a new apartment and not being a tourist. As always, in the first couple of weeks I was trying to find my way around. That meant to locate myself on a new mental map, on the top of all different, already settled, merging layers - Prague, Budapest, Warsaw, New York...
It didn’t take me long to be happy there, away from the usual exhaustion that comes with living in big cities. I bought a bicycle with which I slowly conquered the town. I went on long runs along the river and to sauna where I regularly rubbed myself with ice - naked, together with local senior citizens.
I also made some art, read books and processed many thoughts.
Living in a Turkish-Indian-African neighbourhood, with a great Turkish grocery around the corner and with a small local market nearby, I was inspired to cook a lot. Styrian region of Austria is famous for its high quality of vegetables, fruits, schnapps and wine, and I felt blessed when I discovered their incredible pumpkin seed oil - I ate it with everything.
And that’s how this soup happened - with some cooktuition, I believe, the diversity of my place was transformed into a dish.
Kat’s pumpkin soup
- One hokkaido pumpkin..or two, if they are small
- 1 red onion
- 3 gloves of garlic
- fresh chili
- tandoori masala
- 3-4 table spoons of brown sugar
- olive oil
- black pepper
- pumkin seed oil
Cut the pumpkin into small cubes, as it is. The fact that one doesn’t have to peel hokkaido was one of the best life’s discoveries - if you ever tried to peel one, you know what I’m talking about!
Finely chop onion, garlic and chili. Heat some oil in a big pot, put in onion and after some while add sugar. Lower the heat and let those two caramelize. After approx. 7 minutes, add garlic, chili, tandoori masala (1-2 tablespoons) and turmeric (1-2 tea spoons).
Stir well and add the pumpkin, black pepper and salt. Mix properly with the basis, cover with a lid and wait until pumpkin releases some juice. In the meantime, boil some water. Start pouring in water, until the whole mass is (just) covered. Cover the pot and slowly cook until pumpkin is tender (check the skin)... This will happen faster than you expect so do not overcook, because it’s nice when the soup has some texture.
Take the pot off the stove and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Blend it until smooth and that’s it! Stir fry pumpkin seeds until very light brown. Serve the soup and sprinkle with hot seeds for special sound effect…!